FIGHT­ING FIT

WHO SAYS GET­TING OLDER MEANS GIV­ING UP ON STAY­ING FIT? MEET THE CEN­TE­NAR­I­ANS STAR­ING DOWN THEIR TWI­LIGHT YEARS BY STAY­ING AC­TIVE

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents - Words by JULIE CROSS

Meet the cen­te­nar­i­ans who are young at heart.

It’s been eight years since Ray Weiss last missed his reg­u­lar 10am Pi­lates class. This morn­ing is no ex­cep­tion: the for­mer pas­tor is in a com­mu­nal room at Unit­ing Northaven Tur­ra­murra, an aged-care home in Syd­ney’s up­per north shore, wait­ing for the ses­sion to start. He is 45 min­utes early. It should be noted that Weiss is 97 years old.

While the nona­ge­nar­ian now gets around with the help of a Zim­mer frame, Weiss says he has no in­ten­tion of giv­ing up his reg­u­lar ex­er­cise rou­tine, weak­en­ing limbs be damned. In fact, he cred­its Pi­lates for his good health and bad­gers other res­i­dents at the home to join him.

“If you stop mov­ing, that’s it,” Weiss tells Stel­lar. “You see some peo­ple come in here and they don’t even try. Some­times they only last a week be­fore they’re head­ing back out the door in a box!”

Weiss says he doesn’t spend much time wor­ry­ing about whether or not he’ll make it to 100. He just wants to re­main as mo­bile as he can un­til his last day.

THAT AT­TI­TUDE IS on the rise among those aged 85 and older, who hap­pen to be part of the fast­ing-grow­ing age group in Aus­tralia. Ac­cord­ing to the Aus­tralian Bu­reau of Statis­tics, there are around 4870 cen­te­nar­i­ans at present; by 2050, they are ex­pected to num­ber 41,100.

A so­cial group in Bris­bane es­chews an en­try fee in favour of one sim­ple qual­i­fi­ca­tion: you have to be at least

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